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YA Paranormal Romance

With school nearing it’s end and graduation looming, this has been a busy semester. Reading time has been scarce, but lately, I’ve been digging out part of my days to read. I started Evade ages ago and finally finished it tonight.

 

Evade is part of the Ever trilogy. I reviewed Ever a while back on my blog, and it’s a must read!  The story follows Ever, Toby, and various friends and extended family on a journey that will suck you and won’t let go. Evade is the second book in this trilogy and I can’t wait for the final installment of this amazing series!

 

Now, on to Evade!

 

Evade picks up where Ever left off.  The reader follows Ever as she tries to live a normal life, off on a vacation to Mexico before starting college in the fall.  Naturally, nothing is easy for this girl, and she runs into her least favorite person while trying to have fun. She is then kidnapped by an unknown gang who want her soul.  She eventually ends up back home with her family, but the worst is yet to come.  The reader learns, along with Ever, things about the family and Ever’s past that will boggle the mind.  With this news out in the open, the real adventure begins. 

 

Evade takes the reader from California all the way to Seattle before leaving the book on a cliffhanger that will leave you pleading with the author for more.  I very much enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the third and final installment of this magnificent series. Jessa’s strength is that the reader can guess all they want what’s going on…but you’ll always be surprised.  It would be easy to give the reader the obvious but Jessa doesn’t do that.  Instead, she keeps you guessing as you read.  The MC, Ever, is also not your typical damsel in distress.  She finally takes matters into her own hand and the reader is left to guess if Ever did the right thing or not.  No ‘save me! rescue me!’ from that girl!  And while the book is technically YA, the characters are all mature and don’t come off as childish or typical in any way, shape, or form. Jessa has a definite talent as a writer and you will be swept away as soon as you crack the first page of her books.

 

5 of 5 stars to Jess Russo and Evade!

My relationship with e-books has been rocky at best. I loathed them for years, seeing them as the enemy. Everyone was talking about the demise of book stores and the death of the physical book. I stayed as far away from e-books as possible, putting them down every chance I got.

Then, I lost a copy of a book. I knew it would resurface, they always do. But I wanted to finish reading it. On a whim, one lazy Sunday afternoon, I flipped through my phone and enabled the Kindle app. I felt a bit dirty, honestly, wondering what the hell I was doing. Why would I, an e-book hater, be looking at the Kindle app? The one I had disabled specifically so it wouldn’t update itself anymore. But there, I was, looking at Kindle on my phone.

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I challenged myself: see how it is. Keeping in mind that I’m reading on a somewhat small screen, I opened a sample of a book. I read the entire chapter in no time flat. It seems it didn’t matter what I was reading on, only that I was reading. It wasn’t bad either. My phone has a small screen, but I could read just fine. I started researching actual e-book readers. I checked one out from our public library. I liked it. Me, the girl who hated the blasted things. I liked it. So, I took the plunge and ordered a Kindle Paperwhite.

We’ll see how things go over the next thirty days. I haven’t really been able to play with it much, since it arrived here at work. But the little I’ve done hasn’t been bad. It’s easy to use. It’s easy to read on. I’ve got thirty days to decide if I like it or hate it. I’ll report back.

I’ll be one of many writers to say this: I didn’t think my dream of being published would ever come true. We all think that, on some level. No matter how hard we study writing, how much effort we put into editing, writing, revising, querying, etc., we all fear it’s for naught.

Last year, I submitted a well-edited short story to Elephants Bookshelf Press. The theme for their upcoming winter anthology was regret and I had a story I felt would be a perfect fit. With the help of CPs from AQC, I sent in my story. The waiting was tough, as it always is. Then, I got to work one day and spotted an email from the company. I opened it to read what I thought was a rejection.

I squealed.

I’d gotten in! My story had been accepted and would be published in 2014! I couldn’t believe it and told each and every person I knew as fast as I possibly could. I even managed to startle a co-worker through a soundproof wall when I squealed.

I waited a few weeks and finally, it was my turn in the cue for the copy editor. We made a few changes and I sent the document back. A few more weeks went by and I got the final edits. Today, as I posted earlier, we got the cover reveal. The cover is beautiful and now we’re just waiting for the book to publish.

One of my favorite musicians once said “The most important thing you can ever do is follow your dreams.”. He’s been dead now almost five years but those words ring in my head every time I open a document to edit or write. I credit Jimmy Sullivan with inspiring me to start writing again. I intend to continue following my dreams of being a writer, no matter how long the journey may be.

Don’t ever give up if you want to do something. Keep truckin’ because eventually, someone will see you and say “let’s work together”!

Cover Reveal: Winter's Regret

An anthology of stories of regret, publishing February 2014. I am featured in this with a story titled “Anguish”, the story of a mother and father longing to fix the mistake they made years ago when they threw their addicted son to the streets.

Calling all writers! The 2013 Baker’s Dozen Auction is right around the corner! This is your chance to get your writing in front of agents, get feedback on your words and much more. Check out MSFV's blog for details. And be sure to read the success stories of previous participants. Good luck!

Miss Snark’s First Victim: Baker’s Dozen Contest

Mark your calendars! Entries start on Oct. 29th and 31st (adult fiction, but no erotica or erotic romance). Cost is $10 and it’s a TON of fun! I’m entering this year and you should to. Click the link for more details.

Creative Writing Podcast

I had to do a series of podcasts for Media Practices II, part of the broadcasting curriculum at Iowa Central Community College. So, I got a friend to help me and this is the (nerdy) result. Enoy!

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I recently had the pleasure of reading Jessa Russo’s debut novel, Ever. It’s in a genre I don’t normally even glance at (YA Paranormal Romance), but I won the book in a contest. And as an aspiring author, I know the importance of reading just about everything you can! So, with some trepidation, I opened the cover and started reading.

The first thing I noticed: Jessa’s writing is strong. It sucks you into the book from the very first paragraph. I haven’t been that engrossed in a book in a long time…and that’s coming from a life-long bookworm. Even my favorite genres haven’t produced books that have kept me as into the story as Ever did. I am far from the target age-range for this genre, but Jessa wrote the book in such a way that it appeals to readers of all ages.

Now, to the story!

The story revolves around 17 year old Ever Van Ruesdayle and her ghost friend Frankie. She’s loved Frankie for years but just can’t bring herself to tell him. She has the normal problems for a 17 year old and when a new neighbor moves in across the street, her problems multiply. The book follows Ever as she falls in love with the hot guy, Toby, across the street. Their relationship follows the normal ups and downs until we get to the climatic ending…which I will not ruin for you =).

Things that I liked about this novel: the story drew me in from the start. Again, I am not the target age-range for this genre and it’s not one I normally look at. But I will be a future purchaser of Jessa Russo’s books! The story seemed true-to-life outside of the paranormal elements. Ever is a normal 17 year old girl with the normal problems of that age group. She seemed down to earth outside of the paranormal elements of the book. I loved the story, as it had a natural flow. Despite being ‘paranormal’ there was nothing too weird in the book, even as the end of the book comes around. Jessa managed to make everything work in the “real world” without falling into the normal traps of paranormal books.

There wasn’t much I disliked about the book. I did find Toby a little cliche, in that he was the “hot new guy”…I think if he’d been a little more ordinary looking, less “hunky”, I’d have liked him even more. But he’s a likeable character nonetheless. And to Jessa’s credit, he doesn’t have that “hunky” personality…in that sense, he was more ordinary. And he mostly treated the main character right, so that was nice.

I thought the female antagonist was a little…too antagonistic at times. She played her part well, but I thought for the genre, she went a little above at times. She can can be very sexual, and it might just be my raising (again, I’m older than the target age-range) but I thought she (and some other characters) at times, got a little too sexual for the book. For a reader my age, it was fine, but knowing the typical age-range, that stood out to me.

The only other complaint is that I have to wait for the sequel to see what happens next! *laughs* But the ending is well done and while I had a slightly different outcome in mind, I can’t complain about the way the book ended. I was engaged every time I picked up the book and even if I went a few days between readings, I was able to easily pick up where I left off.

I’d give Ever by Jessa Russo 5 of 5 stars! And I can’t wait for the sequel!!

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As I was gearing up to write what might’ve been quite a blow up between my two main characters I started wondering: does anyone else have characters in their head? By that I mean: these two were duking it out in my head for a good day ahead of when I wrote the scene. The scene was a good one, they definitely had a fight, but not the big blow up I was expecting. Now, that could change in revisions. Or it means they got the big nasties over with in my head before I composed their scene.

It sounds crazy to most people who aren’t writers; voices in your head? They put us writers down as crazy, give us strange looks, etc. But when you think about it, we’re not truly crazy are we? There are some of us who simply have this strange bond with these fictional people we’ve created. And those fictional people love to drive us insane at times.

So…any other writers experience this? Or am I truly crazy? ;)

1- What is the working title of your book?
Driven

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wondered what would happen if my favorite drummer was injured in a car accident (yes, my imagination runs a little morbid at times)

3- What genre does your book fall under?
Commercial/Mainstream

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oy…I’d like to have some unknowns, since that’s how the fictional band in the book got started.

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Rock star drummer is permanently injured in car accident; can he drum again?

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully represented by an agency

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
11 months =)

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Probably Firefly Lane from Kristen Hannah

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Avenged Sevenfold and esp. Jimmy The Rev Sullivan (RIP)

10- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s different because it features a rock band =)

Tagged for next week (Week 27) are some of my very talented writer friends. Check out their blogs next Wednesday, December 5th, when it’s their turn to post answers to these same questions about their own works-in-progress!

(Looking for people to tag!)

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